High-tech billionaire Chamath Palihapitiya, owner of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, has come clean about what has been obvious for the longest time but until now never so clearly stated.
In a recent podcast, reported on by National Review, Palihapitiya said “nobody cares” about concentration camps, slave labor, and the abuse of Uyghur Muslims in China.
“Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs, Okay?” he said. “You bring it up because you care and I think that’s nice that you care. The rest of us don’t care. I’m just telling you a very hard, ugly truth. Of all the things that I care about, yes, it is below my line.”
Charming. He’s wrong, of course, about no one caring about a totalitarian country that enslaves its subjects while building a military force to take on the world. So while his statements aren’t true, they’re certainly hard and ugly.
Palihapitiya, a major donor to the Democrat Party, is hardly an outlier among NBA owners. The NR report reminds readers of similar comments made by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who on the Megyn Kelly Show said he was against human rights abuses around the world, but Kelly had to work hard to get him to concede there might be anything untoward going on in China, where a huge market, fully exploited, would mean billions to the NBA.
Like a skilled ball handler trying to dribble out the clock, Cuban bobbed and weaved (pardon me for mixing sports here) around Kelly when she tried to get Cuban to specifically condemn China for its very real human rights offenses. The closest he would get to admitting something less than sweetness and light might be going on in China, home of his new best friends who pull the strings in the Chinese Communist Party, was to say that the NBA has to “pick our battles.”
Apparently these battles are limited to those that don’t cost Mark or the NBA any money. While the league and its players routinely scold the country that makes them rich beyond their wildest dreams on trumped-up charges that black Americans are little more than slaves here, they excuse real abominations in a market they’re trying to develop where real slavery exists.
Those who keep up with political and cultural controversies swim in a sea of hypocrisy. To attempt to comment on it all would leave one with little time to do anything else. But as hypocrisy goes, this is about as pure a form of it as one is likely to encounter anywhere. If there were a Hypocrisy Hall of Fame, the current NBA would be a first-ballot inductee. LeBron James would give the acceptance speech while Mark and Chamath nod their approval.
The NBA used to be honest and fun. Those Celtics/Lakers NBA finals in the late ’80s were sport at its highest level. Exciting, entertaining, memorable. But left radical politics, the three-point shot, and players so rich they can’t be coached have left the league in ruins and its fans streaming for the exits or reaching for the remote to switch to Antiques Road Show or yet another rerun of Shawshank Redemption. Too bad. America may produce more Magic Johnsons and Larry Birds in the future. But who will be watching them? Not me. Perhaps an office pool is in order. The winner is the person who names the year and month that the NBA’s headquarters moves from Fifth Avenue in Manhattan to Beijing.